Self Regulation Activities for Toddlers

Do you ever struggle to get your toddlers through their daily activities? Are they often overwhelmed and highly emotional, making it difficult to get anything done? If so, self-regulation activities are invaluable in helping them stay calm while still completing the necessary tasks. These self regulation activities for toddlers can provide them with powerful tools to help manage their emotions in a healthy way that will benefit them both now and throughout their lives.


Self-regulation is the ability to recognize and express one’s own emotions, thoughts, and needs in a calm, appropriate manner. Self-regulation activities are designed to help your toddlers learn how to identify their emotions, think through their responses to situations calmly, and make decisions that lead to positive outcomes.


Self-regulation skills can be developed early in life, starting as young as infancy. These skills continue to develop into toddlerhood where children can learn to build the foundation of healthy self-regulation habits.


Self-regulation activities help toddlers by giving them the opportunity to practice and master the important skills they need to effectively manage their emotions. Self-regulation activities also provide an outlet for expressing feelings in a safe, productive way. The tools you teach them in the classroom will be in their emotional toolbox for life. You are teaching them to problem-solve and use impulse control at a very young age.


Emotions are a huge part of what makes self-regulation challenging, especially for toddlers. Self-regulation activities that help toddlers begin to gain an understanding of their emotions can be extremely beneficial. Here are some emotional activities for toddlers that also develop self-regulation skills.


Self-talk involves teaching your child to recognize and name their feelings. You can do this by talking about the thoughts, emotions, and behaviors associated with each emotion. This helps children become more aware of their feelings and gives them the language to express them.

Visualization & Self-Reflection

You can spend some time with your child to do activities that involve visualization and self-reflection. This can be done through drawing, coloring, or writing about how they are feeling in the moment. Doing these activities helps them learn how to recognize and express their feelings in a creative way.

Toys That Encourage Empathy

Toys that encourage empathy can be a great way to teach your toddlers about emotions. When children pretend play with dolls or stuffed animals they can feel that toy’s feelings. They can then learn to recognize and understand their own emotions better while also being more aware of the feelings of others around them.


Self-regulation activities for toddlers can also be physical. Getting children up and moving often helps them learn how to self-regulate. Here are some ideas:


Practicing yoga is a great way to help your toddler with self-regulation. It gives them the opportunity to work on mindful breathing and body awareness, helping them stay grounded even when feeling overwhelmed by their emotions.

Movement Breaks

Movement breaks are an easy way to give your toddler a break from an emotional situation. This can include jumping on the trampoline, running around the house, or playing tag in the backyard. Allowing them to take a break and move their body can help them release excess energy, calming them down enough to go back and handle the situation. Sometimes it just takes a hallway or bathroom break to help kids get back on track.

Playground Time

Spending some time at the playground can also be beneficial for helping your toddler regulate their emotions. Going down the slides, swinging in the swings, and climbing on the monkey bars all help to get energy out while also giving them a sense of control over their environment.

Going for a Walk

Getting out for a walk is a great way to help your toddler practice self-regulation. Walking gives them the opportunity to clear their head while also giving them control over the pace and direction of the walk. If you can get outside, even better. Sometimes the fresh air is just what they need!


Self-regulation activities for toddlers don’t have to be physical – there are also a lot of creative self regulation strategies to help your child learn how to manage their emotions.


Storytelling can be a fun way for your toddler to connect with their feelings and express them in a healthy way. You can tell stories about characters in the same situation your child is facing and then ask them how they think the character should respond. This helps them to explore their emotions before responding themselves.

Reading Books

When you read to your toddler, you help them learn more about their emotions. You can find books that talk about different feelings and ask your child questions about the characters in the book and how they might respond or feel in different situations. This helps them learn more about what each emotion is like and how to handle it better when they feel it.

Music & Dance

Incorporating music and dance into self-regulation activities can be a great way for your toddler to express themselves. Creating a fun dance routine or playing music and dancing together can help them move their body in a creative, non-competitive way. A good game of freeze dance is always entertaining!


Children can often learn to regulate their emotions themselves using self-help skills. You can also provide your child with self-help regulation activities to help them manage their emotions.

Self-Soothing Techniques

Deep breathing, counting, or singing can be used to help children reduce stress and anxiety. Even a simple activity like bubbles or coloring can be soothing.

Comfort Items

Use a basket of comfort items that your toddlers can use when they are feeling overwhelmed or upset. These items can include things like stuffed animals, blankets, pillows, or books. It’s easier to calm down if you’re cuddling with a soft blanket.

Positive Self-Talk

Encouraging your toddler to use positive self-talk can help them regulate their emotions. For example, you can teach them phrases like “I can do this” or “I am brave” when they are feeling overwhelmed.

By teaching your toddler self-regulation activities, you are giving them appropriate ways to manage their emotions in a healthy way and build resilience for the future. Self-regulation skills can help them navigate their emotions in a way that leads to positive outcomes and self-awareness. With these activities, you can give your toddler the tools they need to manage their emotions and stay calm through any situation.